Property tax rate unchanged in 2023 Alexandria budget proposal
ALEXANDRIA, VA — A budget with no changes to the property tax rate was proposed Tuesday by Alexandria City Manager James Parajon.
Parajon, who took over from retired City Manager Mark Jinks in January, introduced the general fund budget and capital funding plan proposals at city council on Tuesday. The general fund proposal of $829.9 million for fiscal year 2023 represents a 7.7% increase over the current year’s budget. The $2.73 billion capital improvement plan covers fiscal years 2023 through 2032. Parajon also recommends uses for the city’s second allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds ($29.8 million ).
“The values and strategies in this draft budget align with those that have been in place for several years,” Parajon said in a statement. “It includes policies and actions that emphasize prudent financial management; strategic investments in current and future needs; and support for innovative ways to deliver essential services to maintain the health, safety and quality of life of all Alexandrians.”
It is proposed that the property tax rate remain the same at $1.11 per $100 of assessed value. The budget includes two alternative budget options with 1-cent and 2-cent rate increases to fund other initiatives.
Even without a change in the tax rate, homeowners with a higher assessed value in 2022 would see a higher tax bill. The city’s overall tax base increased by 6.24% from 2021 to 2022. For residential properties, approximately 82% increased in value, 3% decreased, and 15% remained unchanged.
“Property valuations and other key areas of revenue growth exceeded expectations and staff were able to deliver a budget that included increases in employee compensation and investments in key priority areas without an increase in the rate of return. ‘property taxation nor significant reduction in services,” Parajon wrote in a presentation of the budget.
the budget makes employee compensation a key priority after public safety personnel raised concerns about regional wage competitiveness. The proposed budget includes merit increases for city staff, a 6% increase in sworn firefighter pay scales, a 5% increase in sworn police and sheriff pay scales, and a 4% increase in general salary scales.
Some fee changes are proposed in the budget. It is proposed to increase the stormwater service fee from $280 to $294 for storm sewer capacity expansion projects and system maintenance upgrades. The storm fee had been doubled twice, going from $140 to $210 in June 2021 and then $280 in November 2021.
Another proposed change is to increase the commercial waste fee from $411 to $484.22 per commercial property. No changes are proposed for the property tax on vehicles of $5.33 per $100 of assessed value, the garbage removal fee of $484.22, the restaurant dining tax rate of 5%, 10% admission tax (50 cent cap), businesses, professionals and professionals. License tax of $0.35 per $100 of gross receipts, cigarette tax of $1.26 per pack and transitional lodging tax of 6.5% plus $1.25 per night.
A key element of the general fund budget proposal is the full funding of the $248.7 million operating transfer request from the Alexandria School Board. The capital plan includes funding for the Minnie Howard Campus High School Project, renovation and retrofit of the office building at 1705 N. Beauregard Street for transitional space, and renovation and expansion two elementary schools.
The proposed capital plan continues to address flooding and stormwater capacity concerns with $288.4 million to expand and accelerate flood and stormwater mitigation infrastructure. This includes FY2023 funding to address flooding at the intersections of Commonwealth Avenue and East Glebe Road, and Ashby Street and East Glebe Road. Other major components of the 10-year capital plan include $105 million for DASH bus fleet replacement, $83.2 million for waterfront plan and flood mitigation infrastructure, 66 $.2 million for the West End Transitway, $181.8 million in capital funding for Metro, and $73.2 million to outfit and purchase the Mark Center building to co-locate the health department and the department community and social services.
Parajon will make a virtual presentation of the budget to the public Thursday at 7 p.m. May 4.
To see the full budget documents and the budget process, visit www.alexandriava.gov/Budget.
SEE ALSO: Staff salary increases included in Alexandria school budget